Red Light Camera Stats Show No Impact on Accidents

The red light camera program implemented by the City of Tallahassee was promoted as a way to increase safety at dangerous intersections. A recent national study concluded that the program was making intersections safer. Based on this premise, the City began installing red light cameras across the city. Currently there are 17 red light cameras installed at 6 intersections.

Others have argued that the program is just a way for the City to raise more revenue in tough economic times. The City has budgeted to raise approximately $500,000 through the red light camera program. This money goes into the City’s general fund.

Tallahassee Reports requested traffic accident data for the intersection of Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle NE. This was the first intersection to have a red light camera installed. The data was provided by the Tallahassee Police Department and is tabulated in the chart below.

Before Camera
After Camera
Rear-End Crashes 2 3
Crashes w/red light violation 0 1
Fatalities 0 0
Total Crashes 3 5

Source: City of Tallahassee
During the six month period from August 1, 2010 to February 15th 2011, while the red light camera program was in operation, there were 5 traffic accidents. During the same period, one year earlier, when there was no red light camera, there 3 traffic accidents. No fatalities resulted from any of the accidents during either period.

The statistics show more traffic accidents during the six month period with the red light camera when compared to the pervious year when the intersection was not monitored by a red light camera. Also, there were more rear-end crashes when the red light camera program was in place.

During this period, the City of Tallahassee collected $168,744 in red light camera fines at the Killearn Center intersection. For the last month of available data, January, 2011, the City collected approximately $36,000 at this intersection. Based on this monthly data, the City will collect close to $450,000 in annual fines at this intersection.

Tallahassee Reports has learned, through discussions with City officials, that there is a provision to allow the removal of a red light camera if the program is not working as designed.

10 Responses to "Red Light Camera Stats Show No Impact on Accidents"

  1. the research in this article is scanty and inconclusive. A comparison of the $$ brought in through the whole program with the few accidents listed at the above location is irrelevant. Unless you compare  the accidents at all the locations where the revenue was taken, you are comparing apples to elephants.

    Also you fail to mention what the two undescribed accidents were. Rear-end collisions, which rarely produce serious injury in a residential location such as the one  at Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle NE. are the inevitable consequence of red-light cameras. Unregulated red light intersections result in very dangerous T-bone crashes, not mentioned in your review. Statistics inconclusive. More information needed.

  2. I have received a ticket from this intersection. I was very irritated about having to pay $158 fine (seems a little steep to me). I felt I would have caused more damage slamming to a stop then passing the 1/2 second after the light turned. I also felt that if a police officer had witnessed the event, they would not issued a ticket. But, it is hard to argue with the photos, so I paid the fine.

    If the purpose is to make people aware, it was successful in my case. I have become much more aware of “pushing through” when I can come to a stop.

    All that being said, the last time I went through the same intersection I almost had an accident because I was so afraid of “running” the light again. I am not surprised to see the statistics showing an increased number of rear end crashes and would expect them to continue to rise.

  3. We already see that the red light cameras are not working as intended, unless the full intention is a money making scheme. Consider that, according to the above table, the number of accidents has increased at RLC intersections here in Tallaahssee.

    How many readers know that when a car crosses that stop line after the light has turned red, it is the registered owner of the car that is cited. That registered owner my be in Siberia at the time but is still the individual cited. It is then the onus of the registered owner of the car to prove who was actually driving the car at the time.

    This, in my mind, elicits a rather nagging question. Is this not a “guilty until proven innocent scenario”?

  4. The issue is not about if we should have RLC for issuing tickets to stop people from running redlights (I think they are a good revenue source and help enforce the laws).

    The issue is that LYING SCUMBAG LOCAL POLITICIANS will tell you the RLCs are not for revenue, but are for “SAFTEY”, bull!

  5. RLC are a SCAM!

    Most “violations” are techincal fouls like non dangerous right turns on red (that Haines City is doing despite the Wandall Scamera Act), stopping over the stop line, and split second mistakes that longer Ambers STOP.

    The vendors need the above “violations” to make a RLC profitable.

    RLC are NOT about stopping dangerous drivers. IN fact a RLC DOESNT EVEN PULL OVER A DANGEROUS DRIVER!

    Read hear on how a crack addict had racked up over $10,000 of RLC tickets and is still adding on to it. Even the police say she is Dangerous, did the RLC stop her, NOPE!

    Most RLV crashes are plus 5 seconds into red and will NEVER be prevented in the vast majority of cases by a RLC! If ever. Do you really think a RLC will Stop a DRUNK??? Fleeing police/stolen car or tag, medical/mechianical, tired driver, weather related.



    Also read hear on FLAWED IIHS REPORT:

  6. I can understand ticketing people who blatantly run red lights, that have been red for several seconds. I don’t think ticketing people who “barely” run red lights is very fair though. If the light has been red less than a second and you go through it at speed, you’re going to easily make it through the intersection before other people get to you. No harm no foul. I wouldn’t be as against it if there was a grace period of a second or so after it turns red that you’re still ok.

    There should also be some kind of warning system vs straight ticket everytime. People make mistakes. Just like cops will give you a warning if you’re caught speeding, and it’s not habitual, I think it would be much more fair if you were alotted a warning vs a fine for running a red light every X months or something like that.

  7. The other question I would have would be the number of citations/amount of fines collected from infractions at that intersection during the period (just to see if the main impact here is fiscal).

  8. The only problem I have with this report is it doesnt take into account how many cars traveled through that intersection within each time period. With the opening of the off-ramp from I-10 to Capital Circle NE North Bound within that time period, more traffic could have traveled through that intersecton from 08/01/10 to 02/11/11 than from 08/01/09 to 02/11/10.

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